Theories often abound that we are a nation obsessed with cleaning, that if we just relaxed a little then childhood asthma, eczema, allergies and the like would all just fade away back to pre-war levels.

I disagree.  As anyone who has seen my house will attest, I am not a cleaning freak.  I’d love a clean tidy home but life in general just gets in the way so ‘good enough’ or sometimes ‘not good enough’ just has to do.  But open my cupboard under the sink and you’d think differently.  I took the time today to count how many different cleaning products I am currently giving house room too. Under the kitchen sink alone I have 24. TWENTY-FOUR! If I scoured the rest of the house I could probably add another 10 or 15 to that total – surely this is just too much?!

And I think that’s the point, we’re not cleaning obsessed, we’re cleaning product obsessed. Every time we shop my children make recommendations to me about products that “Bang and the dirt is gone”, and there’s the rub, or not as the case may be.  We want instant clean. We don’t want to have to scrub or buff, or scrape.  We want our dirt and germs to be nuked into non existence with absolutely zero effort from us.  And that can’t be healthy can it?

I’m going to carry on in my own little merry way, a damp e-cloth to do the glass surfaces, a bit of elbow grease when I can be bothered, a duster over the bookshelves and a few windows open to freshen up.  Low-tech is the way forward I think – now where did I put that bicarb?

Cleaning obsessed? Not so much…
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19 thoughts on “Cleaning obsessed? Not so much…

  • November 2, 2010 at 8:31 am

    A post about cleaning? Oh be still my beating heart – you know I am the Queen of Bleach! I’m a clean freak so I’m the weirdo who has all the products (from the e-cloth to the pure chemicals) but I also clean with gusto. My Grandmother was a maid in the twenties & thirties (think Gosford Park & Downton Abbey) and she indoctrinated me into the ways of cleaning in the “big house” style. The idea was always to do whatever job you were given “with purpose”. Funny where a post sends a reader in their mind isn’t it? This morning I’m now nursing a cuppa whilst remembering my Grandmother. Thanks P, you are my blogging starlet


    PS she would have loved you, albeit with a few asides to your slovenly ways ;- )

  • November 2, 2010 at 10:45 am

    I’m amazed at the different products you can buy to keep ‘life’ at arms length. Our grandparents would be horried at the money wasted rather thanusing something quiant like soap & water! good post P!

  • November 2, 2010 at 10:51 am

    I can very much relate to this, and you’re right – there comes a point when you realise that simply possessing the cleaning products does not actually result in a clean house all by itself. Sadly, it appears a certain amount of effort is also required. Bother.

  • November 2, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    I do the ‘green cleaning’ with vinegar, bicarb and essential oils. Ok, when I GET to do the cleaning I use the ‘green cleaning’ lol. I love it myself, but I know it’s not for everyone:) Jen

  • November 2, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Was one of those products febreeze!?

  • November 2, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    I love a good clean when a certain point has been reached but it doesn’t happen very often! I am not a fan of ‘products’, a hoover, a duster, a damp cloth, toilet cleaner and occasionally a little bit of eco cream cleaner is as far as it goes here!

  • November 2, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    I used to be obessed with keeping the kitchen bug free when my daughter was a baby. I’d get the Milton spray out every 5 minutes. Now I’m more relaxed!

    I hate using products containing lots of chemicals which must be equally bad for you so mostly use Method products which are chemical-free or some Fairy Liquid on a cloth – if it’s good enough for plates, it must be good enough for work surfaces.

  • November 2, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    I’d love to try out Quentin Crisp’s theory that dusting was a waste of time because I’m a bit of a slattern when it comes to cleaning. I hoover occasionallyand dust only when the children start leaving messages for me in it rather than using post-it notes. I make an effort to keep the house from looking like Mrs Haversham’s, but it’s certainly not ‘show house’ level. I do the bare minimum, however the upside of that is that I don’t buy lots of cleaning products. I use bicarb, vinegar and elbow grease. Other than that I use eco products, e-cloths and good old dusters.

  • November 2, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    Ah thanks my gorgeous friend. I think I would have loved her too, and would have made a BIG effort had she come round to our gaff. When are you coming by the way, along with your OCD tendencies? xx

  • November 2, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    Very true J. I’m going to do a massive clearout and stock up with vinegar and bicarb… x

  • November 2, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    Botheration. It’s all too much really, the trials and tribs of being a modern woman *heavy sigh*

  • November 2, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    The thing is that half the products you pay a fortune for are probably comprised of exactly that – we are all too busy kidding ourselves that they’re going to run off and clean the bathroom for us! 🙂

  • November 2, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    I knew you were spying on me…

  • November 2, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    i’ve screen shotted that admission lady! Christine Mosler says “I love a good clean” – The Scandal!!

  • November 2, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    Ah yes, it’s amazing how quickly those standards fall. Now we have cleanish floors and the three-second-rule. Haven’t tried Method, but I’ll look them up now…

  • November 2, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    I think it’s high time for a back to basics campaign, and anyway – what’s wrong with being able to write messages in the dust – that high-level multifunctioning, a definite bonus!

  • November 2, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    My mum always laughs at the cleaning products my sister and I have in our cupboards. How does she know this because neither of us clean so when she babysits she cleans. She regularly tells us to use, bleach, polish, wet cloth, white vinegar and water solution and elbow grease that is all!
    We take no notice!

  • November 4, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    Having had cleaning ‘drummed into me’ from the age of 11 whilst at boarding school I still can’t pass a smudge on a window or a crumb on the floor without dashing to the broom cupboard for the solution ……….. I now realise that I AM OCD about tidiness / cleanliness but heh, that’s me, can’t rest ’til it’s done………… Have restricted myself to only a few essential cleaning chemicals tho’ – a bit of elbow grease goes a long way….. Great post P, my fave subject!

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